treated like childrenIn Singled Out, I summed up one of the myths about single people in this chapter title: “It is all about you: Like a child, you are self-centered and immature and your time is not worth anything since you have nothing to do but play.” In this post, I’ll share some of my observations of the ways that singles are made to feel as though they are not fully adult.

Singles are treated as not fully adult when they are invited to lunch instead of dinner, to weekday or daytime events instead of weekend evening events, and to downscale restaurants rather than nicer ones – if they are invited at all.

Sometimes changes occur rather suddenly, as when people become widowed or divorced, then find themselves demoted from dinner to lunch.

Singles are also treated as not fully adult when, on the occasions when they are included by couples, the decisions have already been made for them. For example, the single person may be invited to join a couple at a particular restaurant at a particular day and time; this is hurtful when the same couple, when socializing with other couples, decides jointly on the nature and timing of the get-together.

Singles are treated like children when they are assigned to the back seat of the car, or  — when visiting others — to a couch in the living room instead of a bedroom with a door that shuts. In the latter instance, the assumption seems to be that single people do not need any privacy.

When people assume that just because you are single, you are immature and irresponsible, you are being treated like a child.

Sometimes others assume that if you are single, all you need or want for a residence is a studio apartment. Sometimes even people in the real estate business assume this, when the very assumption is apt to cost them money they could earn on sales of more spacious places.

The language people use when talking about singles is also at times child-like and condescending – as, for example, when single women voters are said to need a nurturing Uncle Sam in their lives.

What do you think? Do you have any other examples to add?

Mom scolding daughter photo available from Shutterstock



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    Last reviewed: 15 Aug 2012

APA Reference
DePaulo, B. (2012). Are Single People Treated Like Children?. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 28, 2015, from



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